I wanted to write in to tell all of the women out there about my story with chronic abdominal pain and how we finally found the cause after 9 months. It was something very simple, very overlooked in women, but also very hard to diagnose in women. I am hoping this can help any woman out there still looking for answers..
I am a 23 year old female, who woke up to stabbing pain over my right ovary in May 2012. After about a week, the pain was radiating up below my right rib cage, as well as occasionally down my leg and to the other side of my body. Over the course of 9 months, I couldn't sit for more than an hour, I couldn't lay on my right side, I was throwing up from the pain almost every day, and could barely eat. I had my gallbladder removed last December, so it was first believed that I was having complications 5 months later. Additionally, after initially seeing the doctor, it was also believed that I could have endometriosis. I was sent to two different gynecologists who decided the best idea would be open exploratory surgery. I had this done in June and nothing was found.
I then went to my GI doctor and the surgeon who removed my gallbladder to see if it could be complications from the surgery; the surgeon said no but the GI said possibly and also thought I could be suffering from Crohn's or Celiacs, or had possible scar tissue from the gallbladder surgery. I then went through a colonoscopy, endoscopy, small bowel series, and numerous blood tests.. the results were all negative. I was then sent for an ultrasound of my kidneys to see if I had kidney stones (I have already had 7 in the past), and then for an MRI of my abdomen. The only thing that showed, which was by sheer coincidence, was 4 liver tumors. I was sent to two different liver specialists, waited for months to see if I had cancer and was told this was the cause of my pain; from there I was sent to a liver transplant surgeon. The transplant surgeon told me that my tumors were benign and this was not the cause of my pain.
I was sent for another MRI, which showed nothing again but the tumors, and then sent to a urologist. After having a very painful bladder scope to look for IC and a CT scan of my ureters and kidneys, again the results came back negative. After 8 months of every test possible, this was our last resort and off I went to a pain management doctor. The pain management doctor told me there was nothing left they could do for me; I had tried every pain killer, every natural treatment including acupuncture, and every pain patch there was with no relief.
Finally a few weeks ago, while cleaning my room I noticed my right groin area was slightly swollen. I had noticed this back in May but none of the doctor's could feel anything alarming, except a small lymph node that was slightly sore, which they believed was just inflammation from my pain. That night, I noticed if I pushed on that small lymph node I could duplicate my pain. I sat down and did as much research as I could on abdominal swelling in women and came across an article that changed my life. I printed it off, went and saw my doctor the next day (who was not completely convinced this is what it was) and sent me off to a surgeon. The surgeon listened, was not 100% positive it could be the answer, but went in for surgery and found that I was right...
I had a small, but extremely painful, inguinal hernia. It was along my superficial nerve, causing radiating, severe pain. I don't play sports, I don't exercise, and I have never given birth, so a hernia what not even a thought that crossed any of the doctors minds. As it turns out, it's not something that is often thought of in women with chronic abdominal pain anyway. I was told that only about 8% of women are ever diagnosed with a hernia because it's just not something doctors look for in women. I am two weeks post-op and while I still have pain from the surgery, my stabbing, excruciating pain has not yet returned.
Also, in another crazy coincidence, my doctor had a 19 yr old patient who came in a week before me in May with ALL of the same symptoms. We received the same diagnoses, saw all the same specialists, and were both finally told we just had "chronic abdominal pain". After finding out that I could possibly have a hernia, I asked my doctor to contact her other patient to recommend she gets looked at for a possible hernia, and as it turns out, that was what she had as well.
I know how frustrating it is to live in chronic pain, whether you are young or older. It was incredibly scary to be told at 23 that I had all of these conditions, including cancer, when I didn't. I finally found the answer I had been praying for amd I am hoping that this could possibly be the cause for some of you out there who don't have answers. If any of you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask.
Im experiencing alot of pain myself, this is the third time ive been struck down with right side abdominal pains. They just dont go away---one week straight. I have a hernia right side in the crease where my thigh begins.I always believe the pain is from there but no doctor listens. Im expecting a CT and ABDO scan really soon. If its clear and negative findings Im demanding for the hernia to be looked at and Im not taking NO for an answer.Thank you for your information :)x